Ole Ole Gunnar Solskjaer blames ‘pedestrian start’
One route to a first trophy since 2017 is already over for Manchester United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team was knocked out of the League Cup in the third round by West Ham on Wednesday.
Manuel Lanzini clinched a 1-0 victory after sweeping in from Ryan Fredericks’ cutback to give David Moyes a first victory in management at Old Trafford — seven years after United fired him.
In the fourth round, West Ham will take on the other Manchester squad — City, winners of the last four League Cup finals — as the London club chases a first domestic trophy since the 1980 FA Cup.
United also lost their opening game in the group stage of the Champions League last week against Young Boys. West Ham arrived at Old Trafford fresh from a 2-1 defeat on Saturday in which Jesse Lingard, who was on loan at West Ham last season, scored late on and then Mark Noble had a stoppage-time penalty saved by David de Gea.
But they were the better side early on and took the lead when Ryan Fredericks cut the ball back for Lanzini to slot home. United, who made 11 changes to their starting side, almost levelled when Juan Mata hit the bar while Anthony Martial also wasted a great chance, one of 27 home goal attempts.
West Ham dug deep and should have buried their hosts late on with Andriy Yarmolenko, Noble and Jarrod Bowen all wasting golden opportunities, but in the end it did not matter.
It was a frustrating night for United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who saw another route to silverware blocked as he chases his first trophy in the Old Trafford hotseat.
“You want to go through but it is a long season, we gave it a good go. They got a goal and after that we played well for long periods, gave it a go and stats don’t mean anything. When you have 27 shots the boys have given it a go.”
Solskjaer said United must eliminate the “pedestrian” starts from their game.
“The first 10 minutes we were slow, pedestrian, both in possession and out of possession and that’s something we have to address,” Solskjaer told reporters.
“I wasn’t very pleased with the start at all ... we can’t find ourselves in these situations and expect to get wins like we’ve done fantastically in the last year-and-a-half. But we need to start games better.”
Solskjaer also defended his decision to ring in the changes. “You want to go through but it’s a long season. We’ve got big games coming up and that’s the decision we made,” he told Sky Sports.
“We’re at the start of the season. We know it’s going to be a long journey; Champions League, FA Cup, Premier League, we’ve got loads of games. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing, trying to get results.” United will return to league action against Aston Villa on Saturday.
Timo Werner scored his first goal of the season as a much-changed Chelsea side crept into the fourth round of the League Cup by beating Aston Villa 4-3 on penalties after the Stamford Bridge clash ended 1-1 on Wednesday.
Harry Kane was on target for Tottenham Hotspur but they surrendered an early 2-0 lead at Wolverhampton Wanderers before winning 3-2 on penalties as manager Nuno Espirito Santo claimed his second win of the season against his former club.